Once again, it would appear that the ravings of environmentalists over our imminent demise are exaggerated. We have been told ad nauseum how horrible plastic shopping bags are for the environment. Here's an article which examines the other side of the coin.
Until reading this article, I hadn't known that plastic (polyethylene) shopping bags, made from ethylene pellets, are produced using ethylene gas which would otherwise be burned off as a waste product at natural gas plants. Another thing I learned is that the heavier "canvas-ey" bags touted by the tree huggers are still plastic, but are polypropylene which cannot be recycled as easily since it requires a higher temperature to melt.
On another (but still related) note, it bugs me that the recycling bins located at various places in my city will take paper, cans, glass and plastic milk jugs but will not take any other types of plastic. If I want to recycle my plastic, I need to pay a monthly fee to a recycling company which will send a truck 'round my house each week. I'm sorry, but I don't have the funds to pay for this service. As a result, my plastic ends up in the landfill. Arrgh.